Take Five: Phil Collins

Phil Collins is best known as the lead singer and drummer in Genesis, and as a solo artist. His peerless drumming is a key component of what makes those recordings special. But Collins has lent his talents to the work of other artists as well, with equally impressive results. Here are five Phil Collins sessions you should know.

Flaming Youth – Guide Me, Orion: from Ark 2 (1969)
Though he has been with the band since 1970, Phil Collins wasn’t a founding member of Genesis; in fact he was the band’s fourth drummer. And before he joined that group, he was a member of Flaming Youth. The group’s four members had been the backing band for John Walker of the Walker Brothers; when they set off on their own, Flaming Youth landed a recording deal with Fontana Records, releasing a few singles and one album, the conceptually-oriented Ark 2.

Brian Eno – “Sky Saw” from Another Green World (1975)
The opening track from former Roxy Music synthesist Brian Eno’s acclaimed Another Green World features some decidedly odd “snake guitar” from Eno, assured fretless bass from Brand X’s Percy Jones, multiple overdubbed violas by Velvet Underground’s John Cale, and superb, intricate drumming by Phil Collins.

Steve Hackett – “Star of Sirius” from Voyage of the Acolyte (1975)
Guitarist Steve Hackett left Genesis in 1977, reducing the incredible shrinking band to a trio. But Hackett had begun a solo career two years earlier; his debut album enlisted the talents of Phil Collins on all tracks; Collins also played vibraphone on the album, and took the lead vocal on this track, the opening tune on Side Two of the vinyl LP.

Argent – “It’s Fallen Off” from Counterpoints (1975)
After The Zombies broke up, keyboardist and songwriter Rod Argent launched a new progressive rock group, Argent. The band would become best known for a pair of FM radio hits “Hold Your Head Up” and “God Gave Rock and Roll to You,” but their seventh and final release had solid material as well. Argent drummer Bob Henrit (later of the Kinks) was taken ill during the making of Counterpoints, so Argent’s pal Phil Collins stepped in to assist, with thrilling results.

Thin Lizzy – “Don’t Believe a Word” from Johnny the Fox (1976)
Irish rockers Thin Lizzy were riding a wave of critical and commercial success following the release of their 1976 epic album Jailbreak. They followed up that smash later the same year with the equally praised Johnny the Fox. While the band’s drummer Brian Downey played on the record, Phil Collins added percussion. “Don’t Believe a Word” is one of the album’s standout tracks.